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Broad Beans with Preserved Lemon, Feta and Herbs

The broad beans are bearing.  Not so many of them this year and they will run out a lot earlier than last year.  I’ve made Ful Medames a few times now, and Broad bean felafels, and we’ve had them for breakfast and as side dishes.  But this  Tuesday Night Vego Challenge features broad beans as the main attraction.

Beans in general are super healthy and have a number of characteristics that are likely to make you feel good.  They’re full of low GI carbohydates, good quality protein, soluble and non-soluble fibre, and a good range of vitamins and minerals especially B vitamins, folate and iron – which all play a role in keeping your energy levels high.  They also have a range of phytonutrients like lignans and flavonoids and sterols that play a role in warding off osteoporosis,  heart disease and the kind of cell damage that leads to cancer.  But the specialty of broad beans is that they’re a good source of  l- dopa, a precursor to dopamine. Too little dopamine  is a characteristic of  Parkinsons, and of depression and anxiety, and there’s lots of research around about broad beans for Parkinson’s and some about broad beans for depression and anxiety.

But good for you and virtuously good are only two of the three Witches Kitchen goods, and I used to think broad beans failed on number three until I discovered the north African and Middle Eastern way of cooking them with lemon, olive oil and garlic. The lemon in particular just lifts them to another dimension.  This recipe uses preserved lemon and its sweet sour salty mix is a perfect match.

The Recipe:

Makes dinner for two.

  • Saute an onion with half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a clove of chopped garlic (or more if you are not being frugal waiting for the garlic to be ready to harvest), till the onion is translucent and the cumin seeds start to pop.
  •  Add half a cup of water and a cup of shelled broad beans and pressure cook 5 minutes, or simmer for 15.  (You might need to add a bit more water if you are simmering.)
  • Add
    • 2 dessertspoons of preserved lemon finely chopped,
    • half a cup (packed) of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, mint and coriander,
    •  juice of quarter of a lemon.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes till the liquid is pretty well all gone.
  • Turn off and add a stalk of celery, chopped, a handful of chopped rocket, and 75 grams of feta in small dice.
  • It’s best served with warm pita bread, but also good rolled up in a lettuce leaf like San Choi Bau or with couscous.


{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Liz October 2, 2012, 2:39 pm

    You’ve just reminded me what I was supposed to be doing this afternoon – preserving lemons. This sounds lovely.

  • Kate October 2, 2012, 5:55 pm

    That looks so good but we didn’t plant broad beans this year. Can you use green beans instead do you think.

  • Linda October 2, 2012, 8:28 pm

    Hmmm. Don’t know. Broad beans taste quite different to green beans to me.

  • Nadja October 2, 2012, 9:42 pm

    Thanks! Our broad beans are just starting to ‘bean’ … or in the case of those that were supposed to have been green manure, I guess that’s ‘has bean’. I grew up hating pressure cooked broad beans that were grey and mushy and plain, but last year discovered the sensory pleasures of skinned, blanched broad beans in salads. Wow! a totally different vegetable. Filling too.

  • Barbara Good October 3, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Ooh I have piles of broad beans coming on, won’t be long til I can start picking them. I must admit that I really only like broad beans if they’re double peeled which is a bit of a fiddly time-consuming job. They are also a really hard sell with the girls unless they’re quite hidden. But this dish looks like a great lunch dish for Mr Good and I so I’ll pin it to come back to when the beans are ready.

  • kim October 4, 2012, 6:21 am

    Thankyou for the broad bean recipes… I grow them but after having them a few times we get bored with them. Will try these!

  • Bek October 4, 2012, 8:23 pm

    Nice post! I think I’ll have to make that salad when my broad beans finally start cropping. I have to be a party pooper though (occupational hazard of being a dietitian) and say that broad beans are actually med-high GI (http://glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php), though most bean/legumes are low GI as you say. That said I’m still going to eat them!

  • Linda October 5, 2012, 6:47 am

    Hi Bek, that’s interesting, cos they don’t feel like high GI, specially single shelled. There does seem to be some re-thinking of it going on – http://ginews.blogspot.com.au/2007/10/gi-values-update.html. Thanks for picking it up!

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